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Elevate Your Org Capability: Captivating the Neos

By Org Coach Thomas

Feb 22, 2012

Increase organization effectiveness by boosting young professional contributions. Achieve this without sacrificing quality and productivity.                        


One of the biggest reluctances of our industry is providing the younger generation, let’s call them Neos, an open opportunity to take leadership.  But has anyone really taken a step back to define the terms of experience and competency required to lead an organization in the Oil Industry? 


I pose this thought as a means of challenging industry perceptions on how we define leadership in an era where innovation expands boundaries at exponential rates. 


Granted, our industry is unlike the majority out there.  People in oil cannot behave similarly to techies out in Silicon Valley.  When incidents occur in our business, there are real risks to safety, environment, and health – precious assets that can never be recouped once compromised. 


That being said, there are two realities that I’d like to expose – one is situational, and the other is constant.  The situational reality is that we have an over-ripe workforce anxiously waiting to stroll into retirement.  The other reality is that our most motivated employees will ALWAYS be the Neos.  Couple the two facts together, and one will realize the necessity to aggressively develop this young talent group.



I’m sure that many of you believe that your company has already developed an appropriate succession strategy.  I can guarantee you that majority of you do not.  To confidently claim that you have a proper succession plan, you should have greater than 30% of your entry management at the 10-year experience level.  I can already see many of you wincing at that claim right now, but look at the graphic below and tell me that I’m wrong.


Beyond the natural rate of replacement required to displace retiring employees, what’s not so widely considered is the high talent attrition that we see in our industry.  Traditional values of company loyalty and job stability are not high factors for the younger generation, and the oil industry continues to lose good talent.  We need to compensate for this appropriately.


If leaders today are hesitant to aggressively develop younger talent in a safety-sensitive environment, have we thought about what we’re going to do when the Neos step up and all of the supporting resources have retired? Would we not prefer to have proper support around to share the learning of past experiences?  By failing to drive younger leaders today, we lose the opportunity to develop people properly, and subject our organizations to higher risk.


Beyond the statistical factors above, the fact is that this talent group has far more motivation than any other group.  While young professionals lack experience and maturity, work drive from this demographic is unparalleled by any other.  Many are trying to establish themselves within the company hierarchy, while others seek quick promotions to obtain higher compensation. 


Companies need to harness young professional energetic drive and creativity to usher organizational growth.  This comes with risk, but when compared to alternative scenarios, we soon realize that this is the most rationale approach to sustaining org capability.  Take a step back and re-assess your organization.  Do you still feel that you’ve properly secured your company’s future?

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